In today's ocean, organisms are exposed to so many environmental factors thatsome of them directly depend on whether he survivesor another organism. Lobsters play a fundamental role in the Gulf ecosystem of Maine, as well as in the state economy, and it is important that we understand how pollutants affect their development.
Pati Matrai, author of the study and senior fellow at the Laboratory of Ocean Biogel Sciences
Microplastic fibers enter the ocean fromsewage, they can also form in the ocean as larger materials break down. Plastics tend to float on surfaces where they are exposed to sunlight and waves, which ultimately destroy the plastic to small particles.
Photo: Madelyn Woods
Young lobsters go through four stages duringtime of its development. Researchers have found that the physiology of each stage determines how animals interact with plastic fibers. The youngest lobsters did not consume plastic, but it began to accumulate under the sinks that protect their gills. In experiments where the larvae were exposed to a large number of fibers, the youngest individuals survived with the least probability.
Older lobster larvae did not accumulate fibers under their shells, but they absorbed particles that accumulated in the digestive system.
Scientists want to continue their research to understand how microplastics interact with other living organisms.
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